Beloved husband, son, brother, and friend, Bruce William Leonard, 63, passed away unexpectedly on March 5, 2021, in Durango, Colorado. Bruce was born January 14, 1958, in Chicago, Illinois, to William Leonard and Arlene Palickee. Bruce leaves behind his wife Joanie Leonard, mother Arlene Palickee, sisters Martha Leahy (Pat) and Nancy Koenig, and his twin brother Bill Leonard (Sandy). He was preceded in death by his father William Leonard. He was a much-loved uncle, brother-in-law, and stepfather.
Bruce loved everything Chicago and spent 26 years working in the print industry there. He especially loved escaping to his cottage in Michigan on the weekends, often dragging one or more family members along. His cottage was a popular gathering place where he hosted many barbecues with family and friends. Evenings would end drinking beer and regaling the day's activities around the cottage fire pit. He loved spending time at the beaches of Lake Michigan, hiking at Warren Woods, fishing the rivers, and cycling all the back roads.
For years, Bruce would visit his cousin, Vicki Love, in Durango, and always said he would eventually move there. Finally, after 53 years of living in Chicago, he got his chance. Bruce met Joanie, the love of his life, on a destined Thanksgiving Day 2010 in Chicago, moved to Durango in 2011, and they were married May 20, 2017. After settling in his new town, Bruce became a bus driver for Durango 9R school district where all the children and parents grew to love him. Ever the avid outdoorsman, in his spare time he would ride his bike, hike, ski, and snowboard. When his wife gifted him a fly rod and reel his first Christmas in Colorado, he soon discovered his true artistic passion: fly fishing. Bruce perfected it like no other, and loved spending time on the rivers fly fishing with Joanie and his many friends. His new passion also found him working for the San Juan Angler, both in the shop and as a fishing guide, which he greatly enjoyed. He loved sharing his skills with the many people of all ages that he would guide along the rivers of southwest Colorado and New Mexico. Bruce was always a great storyteller, and his friends easily recount his colorful stories. His fun-loving personality is greatly missed by many and leaves a void that cannot be filled.
A Celebration of Life will be held in early summer.
Published in Pine River Times on Apr. 1, 2021.